CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- The Chicago Sun-Times is the latest major-market newspaper to find itself seeking bankruptcy protection.
The paper's parent, Sun-Times Media Group, filed for Chapter, 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware this morning. The company, which owns 59 papers and their related websites in and around Chicago, said it will look to shed assets.
"Over the past several months, the company has taken several steps to reduce costs and strengthen our organization. However, the significant downturn in the print advertising environment that has affected newspapers across the country has continued to severely impact us," said Jeremy L. Halbreich, chairman and interim CEO of Sun-Times Media Group. "Unfortunately, this deteriorating economic climate, coupled with a significant, pending IRS tax liability dating back to previous management, has led us to today's difficult action. Importantly, we firmly believe that filing for Chapter 11 protection and exploring the potential sale of assets or new investment in the company offers us the best opportunity to protect our respected media properties for the long-term."
Chapter 11 is becoming a popular destination in the newspaper business, as the recession exacerbates the downturn in a business that had been shedding readers and advertisers even when the economy was still growing. Tribune Co., publisher of the Sun-Times' rival, the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, filed for Chapter 11 in December. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune filed in January. And, in February, publishers Philadelphia Newspapers Inc. and Journal Register Co. followed suit.
In addition, The Rocky Mountain News shut down last month, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer stopped producing a print edition. The parents of the San Francisco Chronicle and the Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen have both indicated that those papers could be shut down if they could not dramatically cut costs or find a buyer, respectively.